The American politician Adlai Stevenson is credited with the statement:” It is not the years in your life,but the life in your years that counts.” Certainly, the protagonist in the movie “The Age of Adaline” would agree. Yet at 107, who wouldn’t enjoy over nine decades of being eternally desirable by any number of handsome men? Who wouldn’t bask in being the Trivia Pursuit queen or the master of many languages and have pet dogs whose lineage parades through eighty years? Harrison Ford’s comment to his former lover (Blake Lively)”you have lived,but you never had a life” doesn’t ring true to me.
The silly stuff is the talk of nucleic acid jumbo and of telomeres being lengthened by a core body temperature of 87 degrees and then a direct lightening strike. This is what keeps the lovely Adaline from aging past twenty-nine. She has researched her condition when she had a job at a California school of medicine. She has concluded that there is no scientific reason for her agelessness.She now must keep moving and changing her name, her job,and her residence every decade or she will be pursued as a curiosity,a specimen, to be categorized and studied. Even the FBI tries to haul her in and run tests!
All of this being said,the movie is fun to watch. We see love at first sight and its fireworks, hear smart repartee,and revisit the Italian adage that “years,lovers, and glasses of wine should never be counted.” One of my favorite being the elevator come-on : “I’d like to spend twenty floors with you!”
We get lots of aerial views and starry skies. One lover who resurfaces forty-five years later as the father of a new beau is an astronomer (Harrison Ford) ,who has named a comet after her. Ellis,his son,is currently in love with her. He is wealthy,a philanthropist and on every civic board imaginable. He donates classics to the library and romantically hands her a flower- book-bouquet of Dandelion Wine,White Oleander,and Daisy Miller. We see a frame of an open book with its pages fluttering just like her librarian heart! “Let Go” becomes their mantra when she breathily asks, “Tell me something I can hold onto and never let go”.
The film is told initially in narrative. We hear of Adaline’s husband Prescott and their daughter,Fleming. Fleming played beautifully by Helen Burstyn is introduced later as the ageless Adaline’s grandmother. Their odd relationship is loving even when Fleming is fixated on ailments and retirement homes as her mother has captured a new beau young enough to be her great-grandson. Adaline,now under the alias “Jennifer” has nothing but the future. As she smirks at her daughter’s request for a picture,”seen one photo of me, you have seen them all.”
I liked how the young actor who played the young Harrison Ford sounded just like him~ a little bit of kitsch,here.And Michiel Huisman’s line to the older Harrison was romantic:” because nothing makes sense without her”.The throwing of cars keys ~ a classic father/son thing.
Golden Gate Bridge images and the words “very close” get trying, but as a vehicle for Blake Lively’s role as a Kate-Hudson-lookalike and for Kathy Baker to play another jealous, irate wife, the set is ready. I kept waiting for Adaline to revert to an aged zombie,but I am not the normal sixty-seven year old who may find solace in sharing aging with a soulmate. Does embracing gray hair really mean one is capable of change?